1862-12-17Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
Camp opposite Fredericksburg,

Dec. 17 1862

Dear Parents

This afternoon after a silence of over a week I am trying to write a few lines for your perusal. Last Wednesday night we went out on picket near the river and found that our men were preparing to give the Rebels battle and Thursday morning before daylight the battle began. Our men succeeded that day in driving Johnny Reb from the river and making a Pontoon bridge across and drove the enemy sharpshooters from the town. We lay under arms all day but at night returned to our quarters for the night. The next morning, Friday, we took an early start and crossed over into the City formed a line of battle and expected to soon be exchanging salutations with the Rebs. We lay by our arms till afternoon when the enemy commenced shelling us and wounded several of our Regt, not seriously. We lay overnight near the Mayor's home and the next morning, Saturday, we moved to the left about 1/2 mile and held the front till about 2 p.rn. and then moved still farther to the left where we lay till 3 in the morning and again moved to the front. This time we were sure our time to try our skill had come and with beating hearts awaited the first approach of the day to open the battle. Fortunately we were drawn back to our old position of the second day and used up the day in moving from right to left and changing position Sunday. All was quiet except for an occasional shot from some sharpshooter. Monday we did not change our position at all and Monday night about 11 p.m. we were called out and moved up the river to the City. The most of us were sure now that we were to advance upon the enemy's batteries back of the town under cover of darkness but to our surprise and joy we crossed the river and returned to our old camp where we are now safe and sound often lying under enemy fire. For 4 days there was heavy fighting right and left. Our Corps held the Center, consequently we did not get into an engagement. Our loss on the left was severe, also on the right. The Rebels are strongly fortified and no force of ours is capable of routing them from the fort. Unless we can get to the rear of their works they will hold their ground until they see fit to leave them. The 136th Regt were engaged upon the left and met with considerable loss. Uncle Norman is unhurt. They are lying about 1/2 mile from us.

Uncle Norm has been over here two days. He still looks tough and rugged. I am unable to give you a correct account of our loss as we have rec'd no official report yet but it is probably twice that of the enemy. I do not know what it will amount to in the end. It is the report here that Richmond and Fort Darling are ours, the truth of the report I will not vouch for but hope it is true. I am getting tired every day of the war and hostilities and wish they would settle in some shape so that we could get home. It is enough to disgust any sensible person the way things are going but I must bid you good by again. Please write soon. My respects to all enquiring friends and Love to you from your ever Affectionate Son.

J .D. Strait

Direct as usual